This small mask was carved to serve as an item of personal protection. It shows its wear in its rubbed-down features and its smoothness from being handled, waxed, and carried in pockets or clothing over many years.
This well-loved Ma Go was most likely given as a gift to Dr. Hyla S. Watters (1892–1991), Smith class of 1915, by one of her patients. Dr. Watters, or “Hyla Doc,” served in China for most of her medical career, spending only the years from 1950 to 1961 in Liberia. There she assisted in expanding a small Methodist Mission hospital in Ganta under the direction of Dr. George Harley. Harley was
an avid collector of art objects, especially masks, made in Liberia and West Africa, but Watters acquired only a few objects made by local Dan artists (which she also donated to Smith). Ganta United Methodist Hospital has since become one of the largest and most modern hospitals in Liberia.
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